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Dublin: 11°C Wednesday 12 May 2021

15-year-old speaks about bipolar Dad's suicide: "I don't want other kids to feel alone"

Aisling Carthy said living with her Dad could be very tense but that she has some great memories of times they spent together.

When you hear news like that – I think your body builds up layers of insulation and you really don’t accept it at the time and then months, years later the layers start coming off and you feel the rawness of it.

Clodagh Carthy described to Ryan Tubridy how she felt upon hearing the news that her husband had taken his own life following a struggle with bipolar disorder.

“The devastation…it’s like a shipwreck. Your finding photographs and bits of the ship- bits of the relationship and you’re just trying to hang onto the memories.

“A suicide is very complex. There’s a whole load of guilt and a whole sense of ‘what if’, what could we have done.”

Her daughter, 15-year-old Aisling Carthy wrote a letter into the show after she decided that she wanted to offer some consolation to kids who are going through the same thing as she did.

“I hadn’t really told anyone what had happened with my Dad before. As a child you get confused and you’re quiet scared.”

Speaking about visiting her Dad in Saint John of God, Aisling said:

Going into the hospital, the whole thing was scary but it showed me that there were so many people like my dad. I didn’t look forward to the visits.

‘He stole my heart’

Clodagh described how she met her husband in DCU. She said, “He was gorgeous, kind, generous and so intelligent… We never took our eyes of each other – he really stole my heart.”

However, she described how as the pressures mounted in life he became increasingly anxious, stressed and at times unpredictable.

She said Ciaran was trying to overcome the disorder and that he always responded to love.

Speaking about an incident in which her husband became physically violent, Clodagh said, ”The violence was linked to protecting himself. A believe that someone was going to kill him.

It was terrifying and that’s what this illness does to a person who is perfectly loving and compassionate.

“It was a fear of Ciaran having lost touch with reality- not been able to get through to him, not be able to talk to him.”

After spending time in Saint John of God- it was planned that Ciaran would live with his mother for a time and that the family would work towards being a unit again.

I really thought we were over the worst – he had read so many books on it that I thought if anybody was going to get over this – he would.

“He took his life on the day he was discharged. He went to his mothers house. His mum phoned me and I just didn’t believe it.”

Describing how she is coming to terms with the death of her father two years ago, Aisling said:

I think counselling helps you understand your feelings. I kind of feel sad sometimes but I let it happen. I let myself think of him.

“I didn’t want other kids to think that they’re alone.”

Read: Could depression soon be diagnosed through a blood test?>

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